Clearwater-based Conservation Officer Colin Kravontka says it’s important to reduce bear attractants at this time of year. /RMG FILE PHOTO

By Andrea Arnold

Spring has sprung and bears are waking up from their winter hibernation. Bear scat spotted along Dominion street in McBride last week was a good reminder that they are out and about.

“We all need to do our part to ensure that they are not able to access any non-natural food sources, such as garbage, pet foods, fruits, livestock feed, as well as freezers that are kept outside the residence,” said Clearwater based Conservation Officer Colin Kravontka. 

All residents need to secure the attractants around your home and businesses to stay safe this season and to not present opportunities for bears to become habituated and or food conditioned.

The Conservation Service says if you have to store your garbage, you need to ensure that it is in a location that is secure and inaccessible to bears, or take it directly to the transfer station. For those residents who have village garbage services, garbage or containers must not be set out the night before.

Ensure that pet food, bird feeders, and freezers are not left outside and make sure barbecues and outdoor eating areas are kept clean.

They also want to remind people that it’s also a time to start thinking about managing fruit trees and berry bushes, securing beehives, chickens, livestock, and livestock feed sources. 

Excess fruit from trees and ripe fruit that has fallen on the ground are an easy food source for bears later in the season. Electric fencing around gardens, chicken coops, fruit trees, beehives, livestock, and livestock feed can provide some protection from hungry bears.

Conservation officers will be conducting neighbourhood audits to ensure people are doing their part and are not leaving attractants available for bears to access. Businesses also need to dumpsters by keeping lids closed and locked. Failing to secure attractants can result in fines, or a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders being issued under the Wildlife Act.

You can report violations or conflicts with wildlife to the RAPP 24-hour hotline – Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline: 1-877-952-7277.

Tips for bear-proofing your yard

Secure garbage from bears, either in a bear-resistant container or indoors. 

Don’t put your garbage out before 6 a.m. on the day of collection.

Harvest ripe fruit and pick up windfall fruit every day.

Remove bird feeders during bear season (April – November) or use only small amounts of feed and bring in each night.

Feed pets indoors. Store pet food and livestock feed indoors.

Consider a properly installed and maintained electric fence to protect small livestock (such as chickens and beehives), fruit trees, and compost piles.

Consider removing outdoor freezers and fridges or be sure they are locked shut.

Do not put cooked food, meat, fish or cheese in compost. Keep compost piles working properly. Smelly compost attracts bears.

Clean barbecues after each use.

Do not feed wildlife.